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Doreen Guma, MA, FACHE, CPC, CLC Headshot

Terminal C: Lessons Learned for Happiness

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I've learned a lot since starting the Time to Play, my "reminder to enjoy life" project. Here's a quick story about an experience I encountered just this past Wednesday, February 19, 2014.

After the fact, it "hit me" that my behavior in the face of a trying situation was pleasing, and I realized I was truly proud how I handled my response. I realized my response was quite different than it would have been just a few months or years ago. I'm sharing with the hopes that my experience will help another person avoid having hard feelings.

I was in South Carolina to present a talk entitled, "The Ability to Play Is Not Just Physical," at the U.S. Play Coalition's National Conference the week of February 17. I believe everyone in the Northeast has experienced crazy weather lately. My airplane was a little delayed on the way down to South Carolina. The delay was not so bad, though, as it was a direct flight, and we even landed pretty much on time.

The way back was a little different. We were over a half hour late taking off. That would have been fine, but I had a connecting flight in Washington Dulles Airport back to New York's JFK airport. I was never at the airport in Washington before, and had traveled alone to attend the conference. It's definitely easier to figure things out when you have a companion, but here I was, on my own.

Before we landed I asked the stewardess if she knew what gate I needed to go to for my connecting flight back to New York. I knew that, with the delay, there would only be minutes between when we landed and when my connecting flight would be taking off. She said she did not know, but expected the gates would be close together and that I shouldn't have a problem making my flight.

Well, the gates were not close by to each other. Not even a little bit. My flight landed at the absolute furthest point of Terminal A. I got out of one of the smallest planes I ever saw (it was a commuter plane, I was told) and went into the hallway of the terminal to search for a flight directory. I soon found that I had to be at Gate 28 in Terminal C!

I started following the signs to Terminal C. I walked and walked... quickly, I might add. The time was ticking.

I went down a huge escalator and found a "travel advisor" at the bottom. He was standing in front of a huge directory board. After waiting much too long for a woman to ask him where the rental cars would be found, I asked him how to get to Terminal C. He told me to take the "SUBWAY" to terminal C, and it should take about seven minutes for me to get there.

"SUBWAY?" I exclaimed! Oh, my goodness, the time was ticking! So I started running down the hallway to find the subway.

At that point I could have started to get frustrated, grouchy, upset and angry.

But, I didn't. I actually started running down the hallways making jokes to other people I passed along the way. I even made a few comments about how impressed I was about the person / people who designed this massive underground network connecting the airport and how amazed I was at how huge it was.

My only moment of panic was when I was on the subway between the terminals and the train's computer voice said, "This train is now out of service". Not that I minded if it was in or out of service, but I just had no desire to be stuck inside an out of service train. Once the train doors opened to let us out, I was fine.

I credit the education I have learned from my Life Coach training and my fellow Time to Play professionals, especially Rebecca L. Norrington. Rebecca speaks of internal peace, the universe, spirit and freedom.

I realize it is up to us how we are going to react to situations. We can allow situations that occur in our day to rob us of our happiness.

I learned it is up to us how we are going to react to others, to how they speak to us, or to things they do "to" us. We can let people rob us of our happiness, our feelings, our confidence, our self-esteem. We can allow our reactions to affect our day, week, or even longer.

I have learned, we can choose to react in a manner that enables us to shine.

Sometimes we have to take a moment to stop and to reevaluate a situation that may be escalating around us. But truly, I have found that it is worth it to do so.

I made it to Gate 28 and had a great flight back. I wound up talking to a wonderful woman who was sitting next to me. I was in a great mood and enjoyed the experience, and after I landed met my wonderful husband at the airport who had come to pick me up.

After the fact, I realized I was proud of my behavior. I am very proud of how I've grown, due to what I've learned through Time to Play. I am proud of having created a place where people can learn what they need to know so they can enjoy life. That is the ultimate goal of www.TimetoPlay.com.

If you have gotten to this point, I thank you for taking your time to read this. If you have a story to share where you are proud of how you handled a situation, please contact me. Sometimes examples of situations we encounter can help another learn how to not "let them in!"

We can't control others, but I now know that it is truly up to us to control how we will behave.

Every day we have an opportunity to learn a lesson, if we listen closely and see. I am grateful to learn and for these opportunities to make my life better so I can enjoy life, and hope you can take advantage of these little opportunities, too.

With many blessings for great happiness and peace,

Doreen

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